THE Tourism industry will continue to fall behind if Government funding towards the sector continues to decrease.
That’s according to the Leader of the Opposition Group Mathew Wale in his budget debate in the parliament last month.
The government in its seriousness to slowly rid of logging industry look at tourism sector as one of the country’s main sources of growth did not show any detail in the 2020 national budget.
It’s understood that actual expenditure in tourism has declined since 2015.
Wale said that most of this decrease has been in the ministry’s development budget and 2020 development budget is set at $6.3m, down from $7.8m in 2019.
“The allocations to this ministry are so small and the House must question the government’s seriousness in pursuing strategic opportunities in the sector,” he added.
He further questioned the government on how it is going to create sources of growth in the sector with declining investments
According to the Ministry of Tourism when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) it has good leadership with ambitious plans to stimulate growth in the tourism sector.
“But these allocations are clear evidence of neglect by the government.
“This neglect of a strategic sector is the business as usual we keep hearing government has moved away from,” Wale said.
He further added that should the House expect sources of growth from tourism? On the basis of the evidence in the budget – No.
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau CEO, Josefa Tuamoto in one of his statements last year mentioned that tourism industry has the potential to support the economy.
But he admitted that the budget allocation for the sector is a real challenge and a constraint.
He added that if the plans are not implemented then the country’s tourism sector will not fully stimulate the economic growth the country needs.
By ANDREW FANASIA